In their visions, shamans take their consciousness down to the molecular level and gain access to information related to DNA, which they call "animate essences" or "spirits." This is where they see double helixes, twisted ladders, and chromosome shapes. This is how shamanic cultures have known for millennia that the vital principle is the same for all living beings and is shaped like two entwined serpents (or a vine, a rope, a ladder ... ). DNA is the source of their astonishing botanical and medicinal knowledge, which can be attained only in defocalized and "nonrational" states of consciousness, though its results are empirically verifiable. The myths of these cultures are filled with biological imagery. And the shamans’ metaphoric explanations correspond quite precisely to the descriptions that biologists are starting to provide.
Like the axis mundi of shamanic traditions, DNA has
the form of a twisted ladder (or a vine ... ); according to my
hypothesis, DNA was, like the axis mundi, the source of shamanic
knowledge and visions. To be sure of this I needed to understand how DNA
could transmit visual information. I knew that it emitted photons,
which are electromagnetic waves,
and I remembered what Carlos Perez Shuma had told me when he compared
the spirits to "radio waves": "Once you turn on the
radio, you can pick them up. It’s like that with souls; with ayahuasca
... you can see them and hear them." So I looked into the literature on
photons of biological origin, or "biophotons."
...One of the best-known variants of the axis mundi is the caduceus, formed by two snakes wrapped around an axis. Since the most ancient times, one finds this symbol connected to the art of healing, from India to the Mediterranean. The Taoists of China represent the caduceus with the yin-yang, which symbolizes the coiling of two serpentine and complementary forms into a single androgynous vital principle.
In the Western world, the caduceus continues to be used as the symbol of medicine, sometimes in modified form.
- Jeremy Narby - _Cosmic
Serpent - DNA And The Origins Of Knowledge_